Finding the molecular basis of quantitative traits
In nature, most individuals vary by small degree, rather than descrete differences. For example, human height varies by degree not by presence or absence of height. Similarly, we see variation in skin and eye colour, susceptibility to several diseases such as diabetes, cancers, cardiac disorders. This kind of variation is brought about by multiple interacting genes and these characters are called quantitative traits. However, dissection of the genetic factors determining quantitative traits is difficult because of the multiple causal genes, each of which can contribute varying amounts to the character. Recent advances in molecular genetics and biology have provided methods to identify genes involved in these complex traits at a very high resolution. Yeast has become an excellent model system to study these traits at high resolution. We use yeast as a model to address some of the basic questions and fundamental genetic principles governing these traits.
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